L-A-D Foundation

  • Salem, MO, USA


The L-A-D Foundation was established by Leo A. Drey in 1962 to preserve lands of natural and cultural significance and undertake related scientific, educational, and charitable activities.  Its holdings grew to nearly 4,000 acres in fourteen units, seven of them state designated natural areas leased to the Missouri Department of Conservation, two areas and a trail system leased to Missouri Department of Natural Resources for management by Missouri State Parks, and nearly 1,000 acres of land under scenic easement to the NPS-Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  In 2004, Leo Drey and his wife Kay donated to the foundation their Pioneer Forest, now about 144,000 acres in six counties in the southeastern Missouri Ozarks, to be managed as a demonstration working forest in the public interest.

The L-A-D Foundation is a Missouri private operating foundation dedicated to exemplary stewardship of Pioneer Forest and other natural and cultural areas and to scientific research, education, public recreation, and encouragement for projects and policies that have a positive influence on the Missouri Ozark region and beyond.


Enticed by the theme “#Catch the Current,” visitors from around the country come to Salem, Missouri, and surrounding counties to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities available here. Every year, many of those visitors choose to make the Salem area their home. Community spirit, family values, a rural lifestyle, affordable land and housing, and recreational opportunities make Salem and Dent County a wonderful place to work and find adventure. Salem is located a few miles north of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and close to Montauk State Park,

 which contains the headwaters of the Current River, where hardwood trees, rock ledges, caves, springs, gravel bars, and towering dolomite bluffs line the banks for an idyllic Ozark scene. Transportation in the area includes well-maintained highways, easy access to the interstate highway system, a local airport for light aircraft, and a shuttle van with local and regional service.


General Description:


The Chief Ecologist position, headquartered at the Pioneer Forest office in Salem, Missouri, is responsible for the ecological stewardship program on all L-A-D Foundation lands. This includes formulating strategic and annual stewardship plans, implementing and maintaining a natural features inventory on Pioneer Forest, implementing on the ground conservation for defined ecological outcomes, monitoring the results, and partnering with a wide variety of federal, state, and local entities to achieve our goals. An essential aspect of the position is to communicate closely in ongoing fashion with the foundation’s forestry program in planning and implementation of ecological management on Pioneer Forest, particularly with the parallel position of Chief Forester. The Chief Ecologist will work with foundation leadership to define the position’s role and its desired outcomes in cultivating partnerships for conservation results with key stakeholders surrounding L-A-D lands. The position directly supervises a Fire and Stewardship Manager and an Ecologist, maintains close ongoing communication with the Forest and Stewardship Director and the Chief Forester, assists the Stewardship Committee of the Board of Directors in concert with the Chief Forester, and works with a variety of partners and contractors as needed to accomplish the mission. The position requires an approximate 50/50 split of field and office time.

Hours:  40 hours/week, salaried exempt

Salary:  $65,000-$80,000/year


L-A-D Foundation will offer the successful candidate a highly competitive compensation package and a comprehensive benefits package which includes an employer-matched tax-advantaged retirement account (401(k)), paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays, health insurance, employee development and training, a clothing allowance, and a duty vehicle.